Saturday, January 24, 2009

fifteen minutes

"See that girl sitting over there? She said she thought she recognized you from a picture on my blog. She said she thought you were my boyfriend, but she wasn't sure."

"Really? I guess I'm an internet celebrity. I teach pop culture, and now I'm part of it."


The internet has a great way of taking the proverbial 'nothing' and turning it into something, or some thing, at least. Early last year, I was sent to an interview at MTV. All I was told was that the subject was getting her own reality show, and that she had become popular over Myspace. As it turns out, the person in question was actually Tila Tequila, the squat, bogus bisexual that (somehow) charmed her way onto two seasons of a bungled dating show. Yes, I got out of bed for that interview, and many others like it. May that job rest in peace.

Then, of course, we can't forget ludicrous cyber legends like Cory Kennedy, Chris Crocker, lonelygirl15, and that kid who had his finger bitten by Charlie. Unfortunately, my old job didn’t afford me the opportunity to chat with any of them.

The best part is, though, that most of these people had no intention of hitting it big and hurtling toward useless notoriety. And for those who did forecast fame after uploading their first Youtube video, I consider them even more piteous than the others.

For example, I was cruising craigslist as a means to pacify my unemployment anxieties today, and I came across this advert below.

(click the image to enlarge.)

The job op is obviously good for a giggle, but it's also really quite scary. Public distinction is no longer a concession reserved for those who are actually important.

I learned today that New York magazine writes features on Olivia Palermo, and that Amber Lee Ettinger is actually getting a record deal. Shocking, I know. And all thanks to the ol' world wide web. But, people in glass houses should not throw stones, just like girls in front of lap-tops, happily blogging on a Saturday night (maybe hoping to be discovered by Graydon Carter's assistant, while he links through the blogosphere on Monday morning, maybe not...) should not discredit the phenomenon that is the internet celebrity.

So, job-1004530926, if you're out there, maybe your big break can also be my big break. Let me know if you're interested in getting famous with me, and maybe one day I'll have my own MTV show too. Dream big.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

he aint heavy...

...he's my brother.

What a weekend. Come back anytime! xo

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

peace, of my mind

It seems that even millions of miles away, we are not removed from any of it. As a cardinal rule of socializing, I try my best to avoid certain topics of conversation; money, pregnancy, and of course, politics, and specifically those of the middle-eastern variety.

Since moving to the big city, out of my cushy Jewish community, and into the real world, where children freely wash hotdogs down with 2% milk, I've mistakenly come to feel that certain things are better to be kept tacit. However, it is no secret that the querulous circumstances in Israel have intensified to a fearsome degree, and now even friends who are not at all politically minded have been voicing their thoughts on the headlines. I've done my best to hold my tongue, to shrug my shoulders and offer meaningless annotations followed by a subject change.

But, I woke up Sunday morning, and realised that I've been wrong to do so.

Saturday night, after dropping Ben off at his stop, my cab driver turned on a talk radio program where the Gaza crisis was being discussed. Dismayed, the man shook his head, and asked me if I had heard about it. It was late, and I was tired, so I offered a nod of acknowledgment. Apparently, he perceived this nod to mean that I needed an explanation. For the final six minutes of the ride, I was forced to digest all of the ways in which Jews, not just Israelis, are wholly comparable to Nazis – without any objection from the backseat.

I'm not sure why I kept quiet. Certainly not because I don't have an opinion. It was late, and I just wanted to get home. But the cost of another starting cab fare could not have outweighed the price that I paid in guilt all night, and into the morning. I was disgusted by my driver, but even more disappointed in myself.

Knee-deep in regret Sunday morning, I drank my coffee and read the paper. Haroon Siddiqui's column in the Star on Sunday didn't help my feelings at all. The piece was entitled 'Jewish Dissenters Speak Out Over Gaza' and detailed the events at the Israeli Consulate in Toronto last week. This article upset me, to say the least. And not for the most obvious reason.

I wouldn't consider myself a Zionist, I'm certainly not a war supporter, and I'm not nearly impractical enough to cling to pacifism. I'm a reform Jew, by definition, and I've traveled to Israel many times. I have family living there, and cousins who have fought in the IDF. I've entertained the idea of living there myself in the future, and my brother is set to move there this spring. Of course, there are many things about Israel that I don't like, and as a country they have made decisions in the past that I have not supported, or just not understood.

That said, Siddiqui wrongfully uses last week's demonstration to suggest that because a diminutive troupe of Jewish activists contested Olmert's military response, some sort of credibility can be given to the claim that even secular Jews disagree with the Israeli perspective. What the take-over last week should have communicated is that the Jewish community promotes free thought, free speech, and due activism, even when it counters the Jewish cause at large. It is on that freedom that Judaism is founded, and it is that same freedom on which Israel was built. Because of these liberties, there is truth in the statement that there are Jews affiliated with existing institutions that support Hamas' initiatives, but that does by no means indicate some form of a mass secular mutiny.

There are two sides to every story, like there are two sides of the coin in this debate. Unfortunately, neither heads nor tails can bring about a resolution. What the take-over at the Israeli Consulate didn't tell me is that all secular Jews no longer support Israel, much to Siddiqui's suggestion. What it did tell me, however, is that it's alright to speak up for something that you believe in – something I should have done in the cab that night. And for those who read the column and missed the latter message, I can assure you, and Mr. Siddiqui, that there are plenty of us yids about town who can support the concept of a Palestinian state, hope deeply for peace, and still wave their blue and whites proudly -- all at the very same time.

Friday, January 9, 2009

challenge me

Although New Years Eve was well over a week ago now, some advice that I received that night, a tip-off to a resolution maybe, has still remained fresh in my head. Long after the clock struck midnight, in a house where all clocks were set to stay at 11:59, a boyfriend-of-a-friend passed a little piece of counsel on to me, and I've been musing on it ever since.

I vaguely remember having a conversation about writing, and more specifically blogging, and career ambitions all around. It's a wonder that I am able to recount this exchange being that I was deep in an NYE induced coma, and preparing to say my goodbyes. As we shook hands (for the hundredth time it seems) he told me that in the New Year I should aim to do better, but not try harder.

Do better, but not try harder.

All week I have thought about this. At first it seemed to me like a paradox, you know, a contradiction (something that I vowed to avoid in 2009). I'm a very cause-and-effect kinda lady. I don't believe that anything just happens; I believe that things are made to happen. Fate is for suckers who can't handle the pressure of knowing that their life is, in fact, in their own hands.

Therefore, how can one do better without trying any harder?

But after a week to think it over, I finally have an inkling as to what he was talking about. I tried to try less. (Sounds easy. It isn't.) Maybe it's the effort that taints the work, the wardrobe, the conversation. Maybe it's just better to be au natural, and not to force things. Of all the things I said I was going to try to be in 2009 (a better writer, a better girlfriend, a better budgeter, a better problem-solver etc…) being more of myself might be the biggest challenge of all.